Google’s New Employee Perk: DNA Tests

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Google’s known for offering great perks to employees, from dry cleaning and free food to gym facilities. The perks are so great, in fact, that some employees do their best to never leave. But now the company’s offering something a little more unconventional: DNA tests from Foundation Medicine for any employees (and employees’ relatives) suffering from cancer.

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According to Reuters, Google will begin offering the benefit at the beginning of next year. Foundation Medicine sends the patient’s genetic information to oncologists, who can use the data to better tailor drug combinations to fight different types of cancer. As with most cutting-edge solutions, the tests cost many thousands of dollars for those without the necessary insurance coverage. (Foundation Medicine also received early funding from Google Ventures, the company’s investment arm.)

Google itself has grown more interested in the healthcare industry over the past few years. Earlier in November, it announced work on a pill that could introduce magnetized nanoparticles into a patient’s bloodstream, which would then attach to cancerous cells, allowing physicians to detect cancer much earlier. But that solution won’t hit the market for several years, if ever.

The rise of wearable electronics could also boost Google’s long-term health plans. According to Forbes, the company is working on a service, dubbed Google Fit, that will pull in data from fitness trackers and “smart watches,” and use that to help provide a more comprehensive view into the user’s health.

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2 Responses to “Google’s New Employee Perk: DNA Tests”

  1. jelabarre

    Yeah, it just *happens* to be a “perk” now, in a couple years it will be mandatory. They’re just trying to sneak genetic testing in by clothing it in a nice sounding excuse. I’ve seen “Gattaca”, so I know where that ends up.